The Pittsburgh Pirates made three deals in the hours leading up to Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline. However, they weren't the types of trades contending teams usually make.
Pittsburgh acquired first baseman Gaby Sanchez and minor league pitcher Kyle Kaminska from Florida for minor league center fielder Gorkys Hernandez on Tuesday and also got right-handed reliever Chad Qualls form the New York Yankees for corner infielder Casey McGehee and $225,000. That came after the Pirates picked up outfielder Travis Snider from Toronto in the wee hours of Tuesday morning for righty reliever Brad Lincoln.
While Qualls will help fill the middle-relief hole left by the trade of Lincoln, Snider and Sanchez figure to make bigger impacts. Snider is expected to play every day in right field, and the right-handed hitting Sanchez will fill the short half of a platoon at first base with Garrett Jones.
Snider and Sanchez are being asked to help a contending team despite spending the majority of the season at Class AAA. The moves seem odd on the surface, but the Pirates were determined not to mortgage their future by trading top prospects for established available outfielders, such as Philadelphia's Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo and Arizona's Justin Upton.
"We were able to acquire players who we feel will be helped by a change of scenery, will be energized by being in a pennant race and will help us now," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez are talented players. We just did not see the value in trading our top prospects. You have to remember there are no sure things. If we would have traded for a veteran player, there were no assurances that he would be any more successful than the players we acquired."
Huntington also likes that Snider and Sanchez will be under contractual control through at least the 2015 season.
"The cost for rental players was much too expensive this year," Huntington said. "We have two good players who could be with us for a numbers of years, and that's exciting."